Officials rehiring events staff after layoffs last year

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

Students wait outside Lisner Auditorium for an impromptu appearance by Kanye West. In-person events and speakers have been a staple of GW's brand, but officials laid off many event staff once the pandemic hit.

As GW prepares for an in-person fall semester, officials are expanding the University’s Events and Venues team after many members of the department were laid off last summer to mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Hegarty, the associate vice president of events, said he hopes to have staff begin the newly-posted positions by August 30 – the first day of fall classes – including roles like a venue manager and an assistant director for scheduling. Administrators laid off 339 staff last year in administrative units like events, communications, information technology, career services, athletics and facilities as they faced a roughly $180 million annual revenue gap. Hegarty said officials are now ready to hire new event staff after more than a year of in-person event cancellations due to the pandemic.

“Like the rest of the University, the Department of Events and Venues is excited about the campus opening up again to students, faculty and the GW community,” he said in an email. “After downsizing due to not having in-person events when COVID hit last year, we are in the position of hiring new positions to support the execution of our University events, our new scheduling system and provide the resources for guests to enjoy our wonderful venues around campus.”

The department had been managed under the Division of External Relations prior to the pandemic, but officials restructured the department within the Division of Safety and Facilities in conjunction with last year’s downsizing. The Division of External Relations was transformed into the Office of Communications and Marketing, accompanied by layoffs in its other departments, like media relations.

“Since our department was reorganized, these are all new positions and anyone is open to apply, internal and external applicants,” Hegarty said.

The layoffs had inflamed tensions between some members of the GW community and administrators, with hundreds citing the cuts as they called on University President Thomas LeBlanc to resign. LeBlanc announced in May that he would depart the University upon the end of his contract next year.

“We were very proud of all of our previous staff in events and venues and would be honored to welcome back any former staffers that are selected through the interview process, as well as welcome in the new members of the team,” Hegarty said.

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